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Jos is the capital city of Plateau state, situated on the Jos Plateau at an elevation of 4,250 feet (1,295 meters) in central Nigeria. It is positioned along the Delimi River and in proximity to the source of the Jamaari River, known as the Bunga downstream.

Originally, the area was occupied by Geash, a village of the Birom people. The town experienced rapid development after the British discovered substantial tin deposits in the region around 1903. Local Africans had traditionally extracted the metal from the alluvial beds of the Delimi and other plateau streams. Mining activities commenced in 1905 at Naraguta Hausawa, located 3.5 miles (6 km) north, which had been a tin-working centre since the 18th century. The tin was transported by headload to the Benue River port of Loko, situated 150 miles (240 km) southwest, from where it was transshipped to Forcados in the Niger Delta for export.

To facilitate the transportation of tin, the Bauchi Light Railway was constructed in 1914. It carried tin from Jos and nearby Bukuru to Zaria, a distance of 114 miles (184 km) northwest, and connected to the main rail line leading to Lagos. The extension of the standard-gauge railway from Port Harcourt in 1927 provided a more direct route to the Niger Delta ports. Consequently, in 1957, the Bauchi Light Railway was closed.

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Jos is a city in the North-Central region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The city has a population of about 900,000 residents based on the 2006 census. Popularly called "J-Town", it is the administrative capital and largest city of Plateau State. The city is situated on the Jos Plateau which is embedded in the Guinea Savannah of North-Central Nigeria. It connects most of the North-Eastern capitals to the Federal Capital Territory Abuja by road. Driving in and out of Jos, traffic encounters very steep sloppy bends and breathtaking mountainous sceneries typical of the plateau landform. The name of the state (Plateau State) was coined from its affiliation to this landform.

During British colonial rule, Jos became an important centre for tin mining when the colonialists discovered huge deposits of cassiterite the main ore for the metal. It is also the trading hub of the state as commercial activities are steadily increasing.


The earliest known settlers of the land that would come to be known as Nigeria were the Nok people (c. 1000 BC), skilled artisans from around the Jos area who mysteriously vanished in the late first millennium.

According to the historian Sen Luka Gwom Zangabadt, the area known as Jos today was inhabited by indigenous ethnic groups who were mostly farmers. During the British colonial period, direct rule was introduced for the indigenous ethnic groups on the Jos Plateau since they were not under the Fulani emirates where indirect rule was used. According to the historian Samuel N Nwabara, the Fulani empire controlled most of northern Nigeria, except the Plateau province and the Berom, Ngas, Tiv, Jukun and Idoma ethnic groups. It was the discovery of tin by the British that led to the influx of other ethnic groups such as the Hausa from the north, southeastern Igbo, and Yoruba from the country's southwest. As such, Jos is often recognised as a cosmopolitan Nigerian city.

According to the white paper of the commission of inquiry into the 1894 crisis, Ames, a British colonial administrator, said that the original name for Jos was Gwosh in the Izere language (spoken by the Afusari, the first settlers in the area), which was a village situated at the current site of the city; according to Ames, the Hausa, who arrived there after, wrongly pronounced Gwosh as "Jos" and it stuck. Another version was that "Jos" came from the word "Jasad" meaning body in Arabic. To distinguish it from the hill tops, it was called "Jas", which was mispronounced by the British as "Jos". It grew rapidly after the British discovered vast tin deposits in the vicinity. Both tin and columbite were extensively mined in the area up until the 1960s. They were transported by railway to both Port Harcourt and Lagos on the coast, then exported from those ports. Jos is still often referred to as "Tin City". It was made capital of Benue-Plateau State in 1967, and became the capital of the new Plateau State in 1975. Jos has become an important national administrative, commercial, and tourist centre. Tin mining has led to the influx of migrants (mostly Igbos, Yorubas and Europeans) who constitute more than half of the population of Jos. This "melting pot" of race, ethnicity and religion makes Jos one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria. For this reason, Plateau State is known in Nigeria as the "home of peace and tourism".

Excellent footage of Jos in 1936 including the tin mines, local people and the colonial population is held by the Cinema Museum in London ref HM0172.

Administrative divisions

The city is divided into 2 local government areas of Jos North and Jos South. The city proper lies between Jos North and parts of Jos South headquartered in Bukuru.


Jos North is the commercial nerve centre of the state as it houses the state's branch of Nigeria's Central Bank and the headquarters' of the commercial banks are mostly located here as well as the currency exchanges along Ahmadu Bello way. Moreso all basic and essential services can be found in Jos North from the Jos Main market (terminus) to Kabong or Rukuba Road satellite market. Due to the recent communal clashes however a lot of commercial activities are shifting to Jos South. The Gbong Gwom Jos palace and office is located in an area in Jos North called "Jishe" in Berom language. In 1956, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II together with her consort Prince Philip had a weekend stopover to rest at Jishe known at that time as Tudun Wada cottage during her Nigeria tour. Jos North has a significant slum. Jos North is the location of the University of Jos and its teaching hospital at Laminga & the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. The Nigerian Film Institute is also located in Jos-North at British America junction along Murtala Mohammed way. Both the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) and the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) are headquartered in this part of the metropolis.


Jos South is the seat of the Governor i.e. the old Government House in Rayfield and the New Government House in Little Rayfield and the industrial centre of Plateau State due to the presence of industries like the NASCO group of companies, Standard Biscuits, Grand Cereals and Oil Mills, Zuma steel west Africa, aluminium roofing industries, Jos International Breweries among others. Jos South also houses prestigious institutions like the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), the highest academic awarding institution in Nigeria, the Police Staff College, the NTA television college and the Nigerian Film Corporation. Jos South also houses the prestigious National Centre For Remote Sensing. The city has formed an agglomeration with the town of Bukuru to form the Jos-Bukuru metropolis (JBM). Jos also is the seat of the famous National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), situated in Vom. and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

Geography and climate

Situated almost at the geographical centre of Nigeria and about 179 kilometres (111 miles) from Abuja, the nation's capital, Jos is linked by road, rail and air to the rest of the country. The city is served by Yakubu Gowon Airport, but its rail connections no longer operate as the only currently operational section of Nigeria's rail network is the western line from Lagos to Kano.

At an altitude of 1,217 m (3,993 ft) above sea level, Jos' climate is closer to temperate than that of the vast majority of Nigeria. Average monthly temperatures range from 21–25 °C (70–77 °F), and from mid-November to late January, night-time temperatures drop as low as 7 °C (45 °F). Hail sometimes falls during the rainy season because of the cooler temperatures at high altitudes. These cooler temperatures have, from colonial times until the present day, made Jos a favourite holiday location for both tourists and expatriates based in Nigeria.

Jos receives about 1,400 millimetres (55 inches) of rainfall annually, the precipitation arising from both convectional and orographic sources, owing to the location of the city on the Jos Plateau.

According to the Köppen climate classification system, Jos has a tropical savanna climate, abbreviated Aw.


330 Nigerian Air Force station Jos

the 330 Nigerian Air Force station is located in Jos South Local Government area along old airport road. The station boasts blocks of barracks for air personnel, an air strip, a primary school, military secondary school and a hospital which is arguably one of the best in the state.

Jos Wildlife Park

Covering roughly 3 square miles (7.8 km2) of savannah bush and established in 1972 under the administration of then Governor of Benue-Plateau Joseph Gomwalk in alliance with a mandate by the then Organisation of African Unity to African heads of state to earmark one third of their landmass to establish conservation areas in each of their countries, It has since then become a major attraction in the state, attracting tourists from within and outside the country. The park has become a home to various species of wildlife including Lions, Rock pythons, marabou storks, Baboons, Honey Badgers, Camels as well as variant flora.

Jos Museum

The National Museum in Jos was founded in 1952 by Bernard Fagg, and was recognized as one of the best in the country. It has unfortunately been left to fall to ruin as is the case with most of the cultural establishments in Nigeria. The Pottery Hall is also a part of the museum that has an exceptional collection of finely crafted pottery from all over Nigeria and boasts some fine specimens of Nok terracotta heads and artifacts dating from 500 BCE to 200 CE. It also incorporates the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture with life-size replicas of a variety of buildings, from the walls of Kano and the Mosque at Zaria to a Tiv village. Articles of interest from colonial times relating to the railway and tin mining can also be found on display. A School for Museum Technicians is attached to the museum, established with the help of UNESCO. The Jos Museum is also located beside the zoo.

Jos Polo Club

Situated at the end of Joseph Gomwalk Road, the Jos Polo Club is one of the prominent sports institutions in the state.

Jos Stadium

A 40,000 seat capacity located along Farin-Gada road which has become home to the Plateau United Football Club, Current champions of The Nigerian Professional League. Rwang Pam township stadium Jos.

Jos Golf Course

The golf course located in Rayfield, Jos has hosted many golfing competitions with players coming from both within and outside the state.

Other local enterprises include food processing, beer brewing, and the manufacture of cosmetics, soap, rope, jute bags, and furniture. Heavy industry produces cement and asbestos cement, crushed stone, rolled steel, and tire retreads. Jos is also a centre for the construction industry, and has several printing and publishing firms. The Jos-Bukuru dam and reservoir on the Shen River provide water for the city's industries.

Jos is a base for exploring Plateau State. The Shere Hills, seen to the east of Jos, offer a prime view of the city below. Assop Falls is a small waterfall which makes a picnic spot on a drive from Jos to Abuja. Riyom Rock is a dramatic and photogenic pile of rocks balanced precariously on top of one another, with one resembling a clown's hat, observable from the main Jos-Akwanga road.

The city is home to the University of Jos (founded in 1975), St Luke's Cathedral, an airport and a railway station. Jos is served by several teaching hospitals including Bingham University Teaching Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), a federal government-funded referral hospital. The Nigerian College of Accountancy, with over 3,000 students in 2011, is based in Kwall, Plateau State.

Notable people

  • Third Nigerian Republic President-elect MKO Abiola was elected SDP flag bearer in Jos
  • Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria's second military Head of state & hero of the Nigerian civil war. resides in Jos.
  • Joseph Gomwalk†, First Governor of Plateau State.
  • John Dungs†, residence; Rayfield, Jos.
  • Jonah Jang, residence; Du.
  • Davou Zang, residence; D. B. Zang junction, Gyel.
  • Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria and former GOC 3rd armoured division, of the Nigerian Army, Jos.
  • Olusegun Obasanjo, ex Nigerian president was interned in the Nigerian Correctional Service, Jos during Sani Abacha's military junta. Obasanjo later won his PDP presidential ticket in Jos Polo Club.
  • Solomon Lar†, residence beach road Jos.
  • Michael Botmang†, residence Za'ang.
  • Jeremiah Gyang, singer & producer based in Jos.
  • Mabo Ismaila, Former coach of the female National Football Team, the Super Falcons
  • Segun Odegbami, Nigerian footballer spent his childhood years in Jos
  • Desmond Elliot, Nigerian actor, director and Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly
  • Ahmed Musa, Nigerian footballer was born in Jos
  • Faith Teyei Afan Nigerian Fashion designer was born and raised in Jos
  • Bez (musician), Nigerian alternative soul singer was born and raised in Jos
  • Doug Kazé, Nigerian alternative Afro-soul musician was born and raised in Jos
  • Mikel John Obi, international footballer spent his childhood years in Jos
  • Ogenyi Onazi, international footballer was born in Jos
  • Sunday Mba, international footballer had his childhood years in Jos
  • Joseph Akpala, international footballer was born in Jos
  • Benedict Akwuegbu, international footballer had his childhood years in Jos
  • Chibuzor Okonkwo, international footballer was born in Jos
  • Ice Prince, Nigerian musical artist grew up in Jos
  • Dayo Okeniyi, actor was born in Jos
  • M.I, rapper born and raised in Jos
  • Saint Obi, veteran Nollywood actor kicked off his career in Jos
  • P-Square, Music duo of identical twin brothers Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye were born and raised in Jos.
  • Innocent 'Tuface' Idibia Nigerian multi-award-winning musician was born in Jos
  • Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye (born 1940), Nigerian geophysicist
  • Sarah Ladipo Manyika (born 7 March 1968), British-Nigerian writer, spent much of her childhood in Lagos and Jos
  • Tony Elumelu was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, in 1963. He hails from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.
  • Kenneth Gyang, filmmaker that was born in Barkin Ladi of Plateau State, Nigeria.
  • John Major, former British Prime Minister, worked in the town from 1966 to 1967.
  • Simon Bako Lalong,(born 1963) Nigerian politician and Governor of Plateau State from 2015 to 2023 and the senator representing the Plateau South senatorial district since 2023.

See also


External links

  • Hiking around the hills of Jos



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